Community members and conservation groups met in front of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional headquarters today to demand the release of more Mexican grey wolves. The agency administers a controversial reintroduction program for the endangered species in the Gila Wilderness in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico.
Steven Capra, Executive Director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, says a wolf population would be good for New Mexico. He blames the lack of action on policy makers like Regional FWS Director Benjamin Tuggle. "He is all about politics and hasn't shown the courage and determination he needs to. We have a congressional delegation that's been mostly silent and now we have a Governor that completely opposes wolves in the wild."
But Charna Lefton, spokeswoman for FWS disagrees. She says there’s a lot to consider when reintroducing a captive wolf, much of it based on science. "A key thing we look at are the breeding genetics, the genetic viability of a breeding pair and whether they are a good match to breed strong and healthy wolves in the wild."
Lefton says the agency must follow federal rules, but stresses they are committed to establishing a sustainable population of wolves in the wild.